In April, 2016 Ecuador was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Pedernales. This quake seriously affected a number of coastal provinces and further powerful aftershocks along the country's Pacific coast were still being felt weeks afterward. Our long-time Galápagos guide Luis Die has been volunteering his time to help communities, and was part of a 30-vehicle convoy that distributed food, water, medicines, mattresses and clothing near the devastated beach town of Canoa. In Luis’ own words: “This whole area of the coast depends on tourism, mostly Ecuadorians, Colombians and backpackers, but a lot of the hotels, restaurants, condominiums and touristic infrastructure has fallen or it is beyond repair.”
We have asked Luis to continue to send field updates and find the best way that we can support the region. He writes, “For a while we thought that helping the reconstruction of the fallen houses would be a good thing, but the magnitude of this task is enormous and it will be a long term process, so we have decided not to wait for this to happen, but do something now, in an area that we can help.” So, we are supporting a grass roots effort through our guide Luis Die to buy school backpacks for children in the devastated areas.
Most of the children who lost their houses also lost their books and all items for school. In the next days all the children from the coast are starting their school year—many of them under tents and canvases until the schools are repaired and re-built. As the parents have lost their houses and jobs and the little cash they have is being used to buy food and very basic things, a local group are going back to Canoa in order to distribute school backpacks with some basic school material.
Mountain Travel Sobek has already donated $1,000 and will be donating $500 per person for every 2016 Galápagos booking from now until June 30th 2016.
Our hearts continue to go out to all of those in Ecuador, and across the world, who have been impacted by the April earthquake. We will continue to keep our community informed if there are any further Ecuador updates to share.
Danilo Bonila, Program Director for Ecuador & the Galapagos